Steps for Dealing With High Blood Sugar in a Child

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Steps for Dealing With High Blood Sugar in a Child

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Blood sugar levels between 11.0 to 14.0 mmol/L

Follow these steps if your child's blood sugar is 11.0 millimoles per litre (mmol/L).

  • If your child has missed a usual dose of medicine for type 2 diabetes or insulin, give him or her the missed dose.
  • If the doctor has prescribed a dose of fast-acting insulin based on your child's blood sugar level (sliding scale), give the appropriate dose. If your child takes insulin and you do not have a prescribed dose of fast-acting insulin, call the doctor for advice.
  • Test your child's urine for ketones, if the doctor has advised you to do so. If the results of the ketone test show that your child has a moderate to large amount of ketones in his or her urine, call the doctor for advice.
  • Wait 30 minutes after giving your child the extra insulin or the missed medicine.
  • Check your child's blood sugar again.
  • Make sure that your child is not dehydrated. High blood sugar will increase how often he or she urinates. Dehydration can increase blood sugar levels more and reduce your child's response to insulin.
  • If your child's symptoms of high blood sugar become more noticeable or if his or her blood sugar level continues to rise, call the doctor. (The blood sugar level can go up a lot after a meal, but it should return to the target range within 3 to 4 hours.)

Blood sugar levels over 14.0 mmol/L

Follow these steps if your child's blood sugar is moderately high (over 14.0 mmol/L).

  • If your child has missed a usual dose of medicine for type 2 diabetes or insulin, give him or her the missed dose.
  • If the doctor has prescribed a dose of fast-acting insulin based on your child's blood sugar level (sliding scale), give the appropriate dose. If your child takes insulin and you do not have a prescribed dose of fast-acting insulin, call the doctor for advice.
  • Test your child's urine for ketones, if the doctor has advised you to do so. If your child has a moderate to large amount of ketones in his or her urine, call the doctor for advice.
  • Wait 30 minutes after giving your child the extra insulin or the missed medicine.
  • Check your child's blood sugar again.
  • Make sure that your child is not dehydrated. High blood sugar will increase how often he or she urinates. Dehydration can increase blood sugar levels more and reduce your child's response to insulin.
  • If your child starts to feel drowsy, breathes quickly, or lose consciousness, or if his or her blood sugar continues to rise, take your child to an emergency room or call 911 or other emergency services immediately. Stay with your child until emergency help arrives.

Blood sugar levels over 22.0 mmol/L

Follow these steps if your child's blood sugar is extremely high (over 22.0 mmol/L). Some blood sugar meters read only levels up to about 22.0 mmol/L.

  • Wash your child's finger carefully before checking again. Sometimes sugar on the skin will cause a high reading.
  • If the meter reads high, recheck his or her blood sugar.
  • If the meter reads high again, call the doctor for advice or take your child to the emergency room.

After a high blood sugar episode

After your child's blood sugar level has returned to a target range, continue to give his or her medicine as prescribed by the doctor, and check your child's blood sugar levels as directed. Report the episode to the doctor.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen LaFranchi, MD - Pediatrics, Pediatric Endocrinology
Last Revised September 24, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.